Gov Ron DeSantis Proposes New Budget with $5K Bonus For Police Who Relocate to Florida

On Thursday, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis proposed his new budget for the year 2022, which includes $5,000 signing bonuses for experienced law enforcement officers who relocate to Florida.

DeSantis, a Republican, previously promised to offer bonuses to police who moved to the state in his opposition of vaccine mandates and attitudes toward police in cities and states ran by Democrats.

That same signing bonus is also offered to state residents who decide to join law enforcement agencies. The budget proposal also calls for increased salaries for both entry level and experienced law enforcement officers.

The budget proposal totals $99.7 billion, which he named the "Freedom First Budget." He credited the state's financial health to his opposition of COVID lockdowns and mandates.

"Freedom works in Florida. We're proud of that, we're proud of being viewed as a free state, and I think that the economic results are something that have been very, very positive," said DeSantis during a news conference in Tallahassee.

DeSantis also requested increases in salaries for state employees, allocating nearly half a billion dollars towards it. Moreover, there are $1,000 bonuses for public school teachers and principals and it increases the minimum teacher salary to $47,500. DeSantis didn't request more in tuition and fees at the state's college and tuition.

This is DeSantis' final budget before he is up for reelection. No approval from the Legislature is required. However, the House and Senate are GOP-controlled and have worked with DeSantis in the past to fulfill his budget priorities.

Ron DeSantis, 2022 Budget Proposal, Police Bonuses
In Florida, Governor Ron DeSantis' budget proposal for the upcoming year requests $99.7 billion for a slew of items, including increasing salaries for state workers as well as the minimum salary for public school teachers, and bonuses for principals and public school teachers. In this photo, DeSantis speaks during an event to give out bonuses to first responders held at the Grand Beach Hotel Surfside on August 10, 2021, in Surfside, Florida. Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The governor's budget requests a handful of temporary state tax holidays, which he said were necessary to offset rising gas prices and inflation he blames on President Joe Biden, a Democrat. DeSantis is widely considered to be eyeing a 2024 presidential run.

He proposed a five-month pause on the state's gas tax for next summer, a weeklong lifting of sales taxes on certain outdoor recreational purchases, as well as 10-day suspensions of sales taxes on certain school supplies and disaster preparedness items, such as generators.

"As we've seen inflation take off in various sectors of our economy, Floridians need relief from that," DeSantis said Thursday. "And while we can change the policies in Washington that are driving that, we can do our best to step up and provide relief for Florida families who need it."

DeSantis critics were quick to slam the budget proposal as politically-motivated.

"Time and time again Governor Ron DeSantis leads with political rhetoric," Representative Anna Eskamani, a Democrat, told reporters after the budget was released. "He continues to use his bully pulpit, and in this case the state budget, for his own political ambitions."

The Florida Education Association, the statewide teachers union, said the governor's budget plan does not do enough to address a teacher shortage in the state.

"We've seen vacancies in our schools increase dramatically, and seen fewer people coming into the profession, and we've even seen an inconsistency in the sense that the governor recognizes with law enforcement that experience counts but fails to recognize that fact when it comes to educators," said Florida Education Association President Andrew Spar.

Among other things, the governor has asked that the legislature set aside nearly $1 billion for Everglades restoration and water quality improvements, as well as $52 million for resiliency planning and coral reef protection. His budget also earmarks funding for environmental cleanup efforts, the mitigation of harmful algae and the expansion of facilities to care for manatees.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Ron DeSantis, 2022 Budget Proposal, Police Bonuses
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis called his budget proposal the "Freedom First Budget." He credited the state’s financial health to his opposition of COVID lockdowns and mandates. In this photo, DeSantis speaks during a press conference held at the Assault Brigade 2506 Honorary Museum on August 05, 2021, in Hialeah, Florida. Joe Raedle/Getty Images